Letter from Ian Hay to his father



Letter from Ian Hay to his father


Envelope marked no trace at address 71 Wing - return to sender. Letter written at RAF Yatesbury. Thanks him for letter and cheque. Mentions he had made enquiries about 71 Wing in France but learned nothing. Mentions his current activities and friends. Make comments about Germans and continues with description of extra work on digging. Mentions intension to buy a camera. In postscript mention anti-parachutist measures.




Temporal Coverage




Photocopy of four page handwritten letter and envelope


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[Royal Air Force crest]

906233. A.C./2. Hay. I.
Hut Y. 42
[inserted] ‘A’ Sqdn. 2 Wing, [/inserted]
R.A.F. Yatesbury,
Nt. Calne,


Dear Daddy,

Thanks very much indeed for the letter & cheque – it is very good of you, & I expect I shall turn it to good advantage.

I was glad to hear from you as none of us knew where you were – but I guessed you knew how to look after yourself by this time. I asked several fellows from France if they’d seen anything of 71 Wing, but although they’d heard about you – they didn’t know where anything but themselves was.

Your last letter of the 14th reached me on the 29th – but this one of the [deleted] 3 [/deleted] 1st June arrived yesterday, which [deleted] a [/deleted] is almost normal

[page break]



If I remember rightly, to-day commemorates the anniversary of the day I nearly spoilt the paintwork of a Battle – once again it’s damned hot & I’m lying outside sunbathing. (Very pleasant).

Incidentally I have just heard that Quine has been posted elsewhere; I heard it from Higgins the chemist in Calne, who was speaking to Quine the other day. He was at our new next door camp at Compton Bassett as the C.O.

I quite agree with your statements on the Hun – I won’t give the bastards any more quarter than you – I’ve heard quite sufficient tales of them from some of the lads here who’ve just returned.

Now that the war is in full swing, they have decided to make us work some more, thus we now get 1 extra hour per diem. Also the course has been cut down considerably, & instead of getting my badge up at the end of August – I expect it will be at the beginning of July.

[page break]


As well as the extra hour we now have to wield picks & shovels digging trenches. Also when we’ve done that there is a lot of sticking brown paper on windows to be done.

By the way I intend to buy a camera with the money I have amassed; it is an Ensign 55; a miniature camera, which contains all the features of a larger one of similar type & price. The great advantage in its size is that one is never ‘carrying a camera’ – it can be slipped in the pocket without being noticed, (an added advantage because they’re not keen on cameras in the camp.) It has an aperture on it & a several speed shutter. Altogether a very neat little job.

Well I must finish this off now as

[page break]


time is getting on & I have several more letters to write.

By the way I like the idea of a W.O. being under arrest – I never had a particular liking for the majority of the breed!

Cheerio & best love

[underlined] Ian. [/underlined]

P.S. They’re terribly scared of parachute troops round here – nothing but barriers thrown up across all the roads; and every sign post removed; even the milestones have been defaced – one can’t travel without a map or a knowledge of the country.

Sqdn./Ldr. J.V. Hay,
[deleted] Hqrs. 71 Wing
B.E.F. [/deleted]
[inserted] no trace return to sender for Cpl Dye R.A.F. Postman [/inserted]


I Hay, “Letter from Ian Hay to his father,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed September 28, 2023, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/37259.

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